Q Syndicate✒ Jul 7, 2016
Late last month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the DOD would lift its ban on military service by transgender citizens.
“This is the right thing to do for our people and for the force,” Carter said. “We’re talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission."The policy will not take effect immediately; DOD wants to draw up a policy manual first, and to determine medical protocols when a service member or veteran seeks hormone therapy and/or gender correction surgery. A Rand Corporation study estimates that there are anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630 transgender troops in the active-duty force of 1.3 million. Perhaps as many as a couple hundred might opt for gender correction surgery on the Defense Department's dime, costing $2.4 million to $8.4 million per year.
Republicans in charge of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, John McCain and Mac Thornberry, have threatened to hold hearings in an effort to scuttle the new policy — or at least to rile up their party's transphobic base in an election year.